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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jackets hit oil slick


You know how the saying goes... you can't get to high after wins or to low after losses.

Last night's game was certainly a low point as the Jackets blew a late 3-2 lead to fall to the Oilers 4-3 with seconds remaining in regulation. It was a valuable two points that were just thrown away by a Jackets team that has shown many times this season they are better than that.

Two costly turnovers... one by RJ Umberger while tying to kill penalties and one by Mike Commodore who failed to get the puck deep in the final seconds of regulation was all the swiftly skating Oilers needed to get back into this one and take home the victory.

Those are plays the Jackets had not been making until recently. Those are the little things that get you wins and get you much needed points. If not executed properly they are also the plays that get you greens and fairways in April.

Trust me the players and coaches know it much better than the us fans watching.



STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW


GREEN
* The line of Boll-Williams-Torres was the best line for the Jackets. Boll has been playing great hockey lately and collected a hard working goal in the paint to get the Jackets even. Williams has done all you can ask as he grabbed a helper and nice goal scorers goal with a low shot that found Roloson's 5-hole.

* LOVED Kris Russell again last night. He just isn't making many mistakes on either end of the ice and is skating the puck so well. With an assist last night he also surpassed all of last season's point totals in 37 less game -- he now has 11 points.

* The Jackets are getting the scoring...especially from secondary sources but unfortunately their defense and goaltending levels have dropped.. more on that later.

* Jackets were real good in that dot last night when 61% of their draws.

YELLOW
* I liked Methot a lot last night. A couple of nice hits... a great wrister. He gets a yellow as he and Tyutin allowed Hemsky to break in uncontensted -- a breakdown we haven't seem much from this squad this season. Some say well what about Hemsky's last goal -- he could have played it better but so could have Mason. That one was on Commodore and if Methot goes for the poke-check Hemsky goes by him... he played him okay... guy is just a world class player who took advantage of the Jackets scrambling.

* Besides that gaff on Hemsky's goal I really liked Tyutin. If you watch him closely he cleans up a lot of messy plays back there... if a pass if off he collects it... he doesn't give up on plays and rarely gets caught out of position... he is skating the puck out of trouble much more efficiently than he did early this year.. he is really turning into the complete package for us.

* I was almost going to give Backman a green as he played the best I've seen from him since the start of the season. Alas he did take that penalty in the 3rd which started the Oil rally.

* Voracek has a beauty of a pass on Williams' goal. Only 12 minutes for him last night. I hope he gets more minutes against Calgary b/c I think he's playing really well.

RED
* The Jackets are not getting the little things done. They aren't getting clears..they are committing unforced turnovers... they aren't getting down and blocking shots.. they aren't getting the big saves... the aren't playing "heavy" on the puck.

* Mason has hit a wall. Everyone knows it. His quickness, especially side to side has fallen. The league seems to have figured out where to beat him now which is high. He isn't making that big save to bail his team out now which magnifies every other mistake made up ice. Kid needs a break. I'd start Dubi tonight.

* Umberger has been brutal lately and was a -3 last night. Commodore certainly knows he has to make a better play at the end there as well.

* Nash looked like a guy that is clearly still hurting last night. He made a couple of nice passes but was very lethargic and pretty much a non factor. He could use time off.

* Jackets allowed Hemsky to beat them. 4 points. Credit certainly goes to him but certainly the Jackets had to do a better job of containing him.

* How does Jared Boll get a roughing penalty for getting jumped on by the goalie? Or how do you miss that pick set by Moreau who flat out tackled Russell? Officiating certainly isn't to blame for this loss but some of these calls/non calls lately are just inexcusable.

* Penalty kill has gone to crap. Of course its no coincidence that in that same span Mason has struggled. The Jackets are allowing to many cross ice passes for one timers --- they have to fill those lanes or get bodies in front of those shots. To many clean looks right now.

* PP looked good at times but again no production on the scoreboard. Special teams are really hurting this squad again.

* Another blown lead in the 3rd period for the 3rd time in 3 games. It just can't happen folks. Good teams don't let those things happen.

3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
1. Willams
2. Boll
3. Torres

The Jackets will have to put this one behind them quickly as its another tough Western Conference team tonight. A win tonight gives them a 2-1 record on this road trip and a boost heading into the break. A loss and all this momentum that has been built up is lost.

Calgary is one tough nut to crack... especially at home where they have only lost 5 games. Jackets better not get caught looking towards the break or this one could be over early.

This team has shown the ability to bounce back after deflating losses so I expect a good effort tonight.

-LTL

5 comments:

Rick said...

Mase definately needs a rest, let's see what Dubie can do. Little mistakes have always hurt us and the guys know that. This isn't the be-all end-all of the season. The rest over the weekend should help.

I'm waiting to see what Howson will do next. Everything he does seems to pan out (with the exception of Backman, what did you expect with him?).

As much as no one likes hearing this, I'll say it again anyway. With the longer term contracts that have been signed in the last year, the level of play will only get better. This season is by no means done. I'm still thinking play-offs. But did most of us realistically anticipate how well this team has played when we all were talking about this last summer? I'm very pleased with where they're at now and hope they take care of the liitle things that will help them move up in the standings. They've already shown that they can compete with the top teams in this league. It's time to dig in.

Now about the officiating/war room...

eplagge said...

First off, I think we should recognize the excellent play as of late..
I agree with all the points made... but I notice a trend.. as a fan watching all the CBJ games I notice the following, I wonder if any of you feel or experience the same game paranoia/angst..

I am able to watch any CBJ game in a relaxed fashion, .. knowing that my jackets will play well win or lose.. for instance tonight against Calgary I am pretty confident we will get some points...
I have a calm confidence we can beat these guys....

However there are 3 exceptions, the Coyotes, the Kings and the Oilers.. every single game against these opponents I am a nervous wreck... watching these games I feel like we are never able to get the upper hand, we can never put these guys away..the games are just too unsettled and scrambled This is similar to what Nashville did to me in previous seasons..

I am the only one experiencing restless fan syndrome against these young and quick teams ??

I would rather play San Jose/Detroit any day...

LTL said...

Interesting and valid points guys.

This team is playing well..there have been some chinks in the armor recently show up but this team has given us no reason to think those can't be fixed.

On to Calgary whom we always seem to play well....even in Calgary.

-LTL

Buffalo Bob said...

My take on last night's game is that the Jackets didn't listen to Hitch. He said prior to the game that the team that forced its style of play on the other would win. The last half of the third (in particular) was all about running and shooting. It certainly didn't qualify as a "heavy" game. Watching the back and forth play in the last 10 minutes was very uncomfortable, and for good reason.

JAL said...

Buffalo Bob has it nailed. Hitch warned us at the beginning of the year that this would be a roller coaster, and this is part of it. A couple of games in a row where we have gotten caught up in the run and gun, and forgot the elements of Hitch Hockey.

We are learning to play together, and it can be irresistable, particularly for the young players, to try out that new found chemistry on the offensive end, where it is the most fun. Hitch will reel them back in tonight, you can count on it.

--JAL
A Shot From The Point